Scientists at Shizuoka University in Japan, having gathered a team of colleagues from other countries, want to conduct an experiment. Its essence lies in the idea of developing a "space elevator". This is a product that, in the future, could connect our planet with a space station. Everything is planned to be done using a special cable.
While this is a theory. However, if successful, it will make it possible, in this way, to deliver people and various cargoes to low-earth orbit.
The planned experiment will be conducted for the first time in history. It should take place in the coming days. However, it will not be easy to carry out. It is required to solve several problems at once. It is necessary to develop special high-strength cables for lifting the space elevator into orbit. This requires a number of scientific and engineering studies in various fields.
How does it work?
Scientists expect to use two small satellites for their work. The area of each of them does not exceed 100 cm2. To launch the Earth into orbit, it is planned to use the N-2V launch vehicle. The satellites will be connected to each other by means of a steel cable 10 meters long. An impromptu blank will be installed on it, which will act as an elevator. Thus, scientists want to prove that their theory is real.
During the experiment, satellites - cubesats must hold the cable taut. In addition, they will keep him in limbo. The experiment itself is calculated on the fact that it will be possible to stretch the "space elevator" along the cable. It will be inside a special container that will be delivered by the launch vehicle.
The satellites are equipped with cameras to track all the movements of the elevator. Experts say that even if the experiment succeeds, it will not bring the developers closer to the finishing stage. Its start is scheduled for September 11 this year.
Who invented all this?
For the first time, the idea of a "space elevator" became known in the 19th century from the USA scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. Later, the British author of science fiction Arthur Clarke, repeated it in one of his stories.
Modern scientists predict that such a product can organize the delivery of people and goods to the orbit of our planet. At the same time, the speed will reach 200 km / h. According to their calculations, this requires a cable with a length of about 100,000 kilometers.
Japanese experts have estimated the approximate cost of this project. According to them, it will amount to at least US $ 100 billion. This amount is comparable to the cost of the Maglev train. This magnetic levitation train is under development. As planned, it should run between Tokyo and Osaka.
The cost of one kilogram of cargo delivered to orbit using the "space elevator" is almost a hundred times less than the same, but with the use of currently operating technologies. Simply put, delivering goods by missiles and shuttles, as is done now, is a hundred times more expensive.
Is the project ready?
Scientists argue that the biggest challenge in this project will be the development of a high-strength cable through which the elevator will move. It must be protected from solar energy. Carbon nano tubes are best suited for this. They are planned to be used as the main material of the future cable.
There are still a few unsolved problems. How to deliver electricity to orbit? What to do with the space debris generated in the course of human activity? How to protect your device from meteorites?
Scientists and experts in these areas continue to work to resolve the voiced problems. Maybe one of us will help them with this. Submit your ideas.
The Topic of Article: The Japanese are going to test a prototype of a space elevator.